Saturday, July 23, 2005

Consumerism... errr... What's your currency, Jack?

Ok, while slingin sticks (of the bread variety), I've been thinking...

America is famous for the way her people scarf and horde clothing, trinkets, television, and hamburgers...among other things, I suppose.

The "third world" has a reputation for hunger, dirt floors, disease, mental starvation...among other things, I suppose.

In the US, our currency is the almighty doll.ar. We imagine we're short on time.
PICTURE JACK: He's a gentleman schooled in the law. He drives a Hummer and wears only peach neckties for fear of blending in among his lawyer friends. He drinks apple martinis every night after work, has his shoes shined every morning, and brings his wife orchids on Thursdays. His wife coordinates the housekeeper and chef schedules and makes sure the nanny gets her Christmas bonus. Jack can't remember the last time he purchased anything. He upgrades. Upgrades the car. Upgrades the furniture. Upgrades the house. It's natural. It's success. It's the American dream.

Perhaps in "the third world", their currency is passion/time/?.
PICTURE TOON: He's a simple man --a buffalo herder. Once, he walked in a bank and couldn't sign his name. He's not embarrased, though. Buffalo can't read. Toon unrolls his mat next to his beasts and sleeps after the sun sets. Another day dawns the same as the first. The same as the last. Toon isn't sure how old he is. It doesn't matter. He doesn't wonder who hung the sky. Why should he? He treads, one bare foot in front of another bare foot in front of a hundred hooves... and doesn't worry about a thing. It doesn't matter.

My wondering....(don't worry, my point is coming).
When we, as a western world, take our values (Good looking shelter, good looking clothes, and three squares a day make a healthy/successful life) and try to judge the world: "Oh, Martha, look at that family living in a hovel", we're shocked and appalled at the condition of most of the world. The two-week analysis yields a b&w memory of "consumerism versus poverty" or "wealth versus need" or "the corporate giant versus the mom and pop" err.. hmmm...

YES, IT'S HORRIBLE THAT CHILDREN ARE STARVING.
Yes, disease is more likely to manifest itself in dirty conditions.

Our friend Jack invests his money in the cush life.
Our friend Toon invests his passions in nothing.
Jack spends money on stuff.
Toon spends thoughts on the next footstep.

Maybe I'm rambling or maybe I'm still trying to work out my own thoughts. Boundaries between the third and first worlds aren't as stark as they once were in my mind. Whether someone is trying to fill the void in their hearts with stuff or with a substantial "nothingness", it's still hopeless striving. The third world lives with a consumerism that is just as extreme as the western version, it's just quieter. It's a different type of consumption. That's my point.

To bed.
Aubrey

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